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A Closer Look at Today's Digital Marketing Agency

July 20, 2018

Empowering businesses with marketing expertise and technology like never before

By Jim Panagas

It wasn’t so long ago when, if you needed a new website, you sought out an advertising or creative agency. The team typically consisted of a copywriter, graphic designer, and web developer and together the three of them would build a customized site just for you. Your internal people would make whatever connections were necessary behind the scenes and then, voila, the new site would go live.
 
“Alas poor ad agency, I knew them well”
That was then, however. And this is now. Today, the landscape has changed. Dramatically. Those types of agencies are rapidly becoming an anachronism. As Shakespeare might have put it if he were observing the business community in 2018, “Alas poor ad agency, I knew them well.”
 
The world of business and marketing is no longer just about websites. It’s about building an expansive digital landscape that includes email campaigns, customized landing pages, digital billboards, webcasts, social media, video assets, and much more. It’s about reformatting your marketing content and delivering it to an ever-growing, omni channel retail environment that began with laptops, tablets, and smart phones and now encompasses video screens in cars, on appliances, in elevators, at the gas pump, and beyond.
 
Technology heavy agencies led by seasoned business leaders
Yesterday’s advertising and creative agencies have given way to the leaner, more technology savvy digital marketing agency. Yes, they have a solid understanding of business and marketing. But more importantly, they have a working knowledge of the phalanx of marketing technologies that are out there, from Adobe, Oracle, Sitecore, and Kentico to Marketo,  Salesforce, and every conceivable variation in between. And they know how to make the two work together in order to make a business more successful.

Digital marketers interviewed for this article (l to r): Vince Mayfield of Bit-Wizards; Brant Cline of Blue Modus; Jeff Mihalich of Code Summit; Rob Bean of Refactored Media; and Bruce Williams of Thunder::tech. Watch the video at https://youtu.be/N82CrWuP730.

The creative agencies of yesteryear were often focused on individual deliverables:  A website.  A brochure. An advertisement. A direct mail piece. Or maybe a campaign. Rather than recommend a point solution, today’s digital marketing agencies are more interested in providing a more expansive and far reaching marketing solution.  
They take the time to understand what’s going on with a business at a fixed point in time. They look beyond what a business may think it wants (“I need a new website”), and instead focus on what’s best for the overall business (“What’s really going on here? What’s the root of the problem?”)
 
Why is that? Because these digital marketing agencies are often led by seasoned business leaders with decades of experience. They have worked in corporate America. They are big picture thinkers and strategists. And they now have working for them some of the best technologists in the business.
 
 Getting a 360-degree view of your business
“We’re here to understand the business problem,” explained Vince Mayfield of Florida-based Bit-Wizards. “We want to understand how a business makes money, determine what needs to be done, understand any overriding concerns, and apply the right technology.” He continued, “we determine the right solution and then we deliver it, from start to finish. We want to be a full-service partner.”
 
That’s something that sets today’s digital marketing agencies apart – their dedication to being a “one stop shop” that can assemble a complete marketing solution without going outside for any additional expertise.
 
Digitally transforming businesses leads to more customers, more sales
“We are able to take a lot of different technologies and apply those across the needs of the business. And those needs are more customers and more sales,” commented Jeff Mihalich of Ohio-based Code Summit. “That’s what businesses are looking for today.”
 
“We have always been a technically focused agency,” concurred Brant Cline of Denver’s Blue Modus. “We have people on board doing design and strategy, but a lot of our focus has been on getting the execution and implementation right. We’ve become experts at building a multi-platform eco-system and linking it to other corporate stack systems such as CRM and ERP.”
 
“We offer all of the necessary services – communications, creative, development, and digital strategy,” offered Bruce Williams of Cleveland-based Thunder::tech, “as we focus on the digital transformation of companies.”
 
Searching for a digital marketing agency? Here’s a short checklist
Marketing savvy – check. Technology savvy – check. But there’s a third component present in today’s digital marketing agency that shouldn’t be overlooked. And that is the ability to serve almost as a business psychologist, developing a deep understanding of what makes each business tick and what sets each business apart.
 
“It’s important when working with customers to truly understand what drives their business,” explained Rob Bean of Denver’s Refactored Media. “I always try to look beyond the project that they are initially asking me about. If you can understand what’s driving a business, you can much better understand how the solution or the job they are asking you to do fits into the whole of their business.”
 
Bean went on, “We like to establish some empathy with the customer. We want to understand their business, what drives them, what keeps them lying awake at night. We want to go where the pain is, where the challenges to the business lie. That enables us to strengthen businesses from the inside out.”
 
Doing what’s best for the customer
I caught up with the many digital agencies cited in this article at a partners meeting in Cleveland. Why were they all there? To learn from one another. To share best practices. To become better business people.
 
“Sure, many of us consider ourselves to be a one-stop shop,” noted Brant Cline of Blue Modus. “But sometimes we know we have a partner that has a particular expertise that we want to bring to the table. So rather than trying to do it ourselves, we collaborate with them. We are happy to partner where it makes sense and combine our strengths.”
 
Doing what’s best for the customer – that’s why today’s digital marketing agencies are flourishing in today’s fast-moving digital economy.

Digital marketers interviewed for this article (l to r): Vince Mayfield of Bit-Wizards; Brant Cline of Blue Modus; Jeff Mihalich of Code Summit; Rob Bean of Refactored Media; and Bruce Williams of Thunder::tech. Watch the video at https://youtu.be/N82CrWuP730.
 
About the Author
Jim Panagas is the Director of PR & Analyst Relations for Kentico Software, a leading provider of CMS technology. A seasoned marketing and communications professional, he has invested 25 years in the technology industry and spends a lot of time with digital marketers. His current assignment is educating the market about digital experience platforms including Kentico EMS and Kentico Cloud.

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How to choose the right technology for your next CMS project

July 11, 2018

How to choose the right technology for your next CMS project

By Petr Palas

Having spent over 15 years in the CMS world, I can say this industry never gets boring. In fact, it’s been evolving even faster in the recent years. With all the emerging devices, frameworks, APIs and cloud options, there’s always something new to learn. The question every developer asks: How do I choose the right technology for my next CMS project, and what skills should I learn?

#1: Traditional or headless CMS?

Headless CMS has been a controversial topic for developers in the past two years. That’s no surprise given the disruptive potential it has for the whole CMS industry. However, is it the right choice for everyone?

Regardless of the controversy, it seems that developers find the concept very attractive.

According to the State of the Headless CMS 2018 survey conducted by Kentico among almost 1,000 CMS practitioners earlier this year, 29% of respondents who know headless CMS have already used one and additional 38% plan to use it in the next 12 months.

When do you plan to use a headless CMS? (n = 526; only those who knew what headless CMS was were asked this question)

Those who already used a headless CMS are highly positive: 63% love the idea of headless CMS, and 30% say “I like it, but it has its limitations.”

With this sentiment, it’s very likely we will see strong adoption of headless CMS in the nearest years, and developers should start paying attention to this new phenomenon.

#2: Which languages and frameworks?

Becoming fluent in some language or framework requires a significant time investment.

In the world of traditional CMS, the choice of CMS is often connected with the programming language you prefer.

That’s something that becomes irrelevant in the world of headless CMS, as you can use any language to call its API.

These are the most popular languages and frameworks used by CMS developers according to the State of the Headless CMS survey:

Technologies used by developers (n=526)

JavaScript is — unsurprisingly — a clear winner. On the back-end side, PHP is the clear winner — again, no surprise, given the size of the WordPress and Drupal community.

However, when we look at developers who already use headless CMS, node.js wins over PHP:

Technologies used by those who already use headless CMS (n=137)

What it means for you: PHP may lose its traction as people adopt headless CMS. Thus, sharpening your node.js skills may be a more future-proof investment.

#3: Self-hosted open source, managed hosting, or SaaS?

Other choices developers must make are “Which CMS hosting model should I choose?” and “Should I go with an open source or commercial solution?”

Traditional CMS combines its own code and the front-end presentation written by the developer in a single monolith. Its architecture requires that you have a high level of control over the CMS code and its hosting environment. That’s why developers have historically preferred to host the CMS themselves.

However, headless CMS comes with a very different architecture: it strictly separates the CMS back-end and presentation layer.

This separation allows vendors to provide headless CMS in a true multitenant SaaS model and lets you focus on developing your website or application using its REST or GraphQL API.

Interestingly, most developers (63%) still prefer a self-hosted open source model even for headless CMS so that they can retain total control over the CMS and avoid vendor lock-in.

While there are some good reasons for choosing such a model in the traditional CMS world, I believe that the benefits of the SaaS model will prevail as companies explore more agility and lower maintenance costs.

Which of the headless CMS models do you prefer? (n=430)

#4: Monolith or microservices?

With a traditional CMS, you use the CMS as a platform and build your website on top of that. At first glance, this makes perfect sense because you get a lot of out-of-the-box functionality, which means that even a less-experienced developer can quickly build a sophisticated website.

The problem is that your code is tightly coupled with your CMS, which means that you can’t use a different programming language and that the CMS might not work well with the latest front-end frameworks. And, when you decide to move to another CMS, you typically have to rewrite your code from scratch.

That’s why developers increasingly prefer a microservices architecture where CMS is just one of the services they use.

They combine their own microservices and third-party APIs, such as SendGrid for emails, Auth0 for authentication or Stripe for payments. It gives them more flexibility and independence on other solutions and vendors. On the other hand, this approach may require more coding and stronger development skills.

It’s no wonder the headless CMS becomes so popular among developers who use microservices. According to the report, 30% of developers already use microservices, and those who do are twice as likely to be already using headless CMS (39%) than those who don’t (19%).

Do you use microservices to build your applications? (n=711)

The move toward the microservices architecture also has a significant impact on how you think about your career development: In the past, you needed to learn the specifics of a CMS and how to develop with it.

In the API-first world, such knowledge becomes mostly irrelevant as you only need to learn relatively simple APIs.

My advice: Instead of learning a specific CMS, invest your time into understanding the microservices architecture and improving your development skills.

It’s all about mindset

The CMS market is in the middle of a major technology transition. It moves from web-first, on-premise, monolithic CMS towards content-first, cloud-first, microservices-oriented model.

Making the right choices in this transition is not easy. At the end of the day, the deciding factor isn’t the technology itself, but the innovation appetite of you and your clients:

If you want to play it safe and failure is not an option, you will most likely choose a traditional model.

If your goal is to gain a competitive edge by developing some innovative projects, you will choose the headless model.

There’s no single answer for every project — you need to choose the combination that works for you and your clients.

From the career perspective, however, there’s no point to wait — make sure you’re on top of the latest trends. If your clients or employer aren’t ready for this, build some innovative side project to keep your skills up to date.

If you enjoyed this article, please clap it, share it or post your comment below.

If you’re not sure whether headless CMS is right for you, see my previous Hacker Noon article:

Moving to a Headless CMS? First Change Your Mindset!
If you do not change how you think about content, your headless CMS project is destined for a failure.hackernoon.com

Do you think about building your own CMS? Read this first:

How I built a CMS, and why you shouldn’t
In the past 15 years, I’ve written five Content Management Systems and built a leading CMS software company. Now let me…hackernoon.com

Full disclosure: I’m the founder of Kentico Software, a leading CMS vendor behind Kentico Cloud, the cloud-first headless CMS. Although I wrote this article with the best intentions, my view may be biased.

You can download the full version of the State of Headless CMS 2018 report at https://kenticocloud.com/state-of-headless-cms-2018 (direct download, no forms).

No rights reserved by the author.

Like what you read? Give Petr Palas a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.

Petr Palas

Founder and CEO @ Kentico. Revolutionizing the CMS industry with Kentico Cloud, the cloud-first headless CMS.

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Headless | The View from the Trenches

July 09, 2018

By 

Rick Madian, Digital Strategist at MMT Digital, a Kentico Partner

The web content management landscape has been steadily shifting over the last few years. The introduction of headless (or to be more specific, API-first) content management systems has moved the goalposts. Headless CMS is nothing new – most have been around for a few years – but the last two years have seen a spike in interest and adoption.

Looking for statistics on adoption rates, it is fair to say that these statistics are thin on the ground so it is great to see this report from Kentico which provides some interesting insights into the trends and views in the market. With that in mind, I wanted to add to this overview with our own MMT Digital view on the rise of the headless from the perspective of a digital agency operating on the front lines. I’ve pulled out some of the key headlines and included some advice and recommendations along the way.

 

Coupled, hybrid and headless

A good starting point is to get our language straight. There are lots of terms bouncing around, from coupled through to headless. To help frame this post, let’s quickly summarise the three key terms.

By “coupled” we are talking about the traditional and arguably monolithic, content management systems that tie the front end to the content, taking control or at least heavily influencing the presentation layer.

By “hybrid” we are talking about those approaches, typically driven from the traditional content management systems, where management functionality is separated out from the presentation layer and served up through stateless APIs (or other methods) to multiple channels. You can achieve this with many of the traditional content management systems out there.

And, by “headless”, we are talking about the API-first content management systems, effectively content repositories that provide APIs to allow content to be delivered to any channel.

 

Competition in the market

Over the past few years, we’ve seen an ever-increasing number of API-first content management systems emerging onto the market. These range from cloud-based, SaaS offerings such as Kentico Cloud through to self-hosted, open source offerings, typically developed by agencies and one-man bands.

The next few years will be interesting as the various vendor’s jockey for position in this space. We can expect to see a number fall by the wayside, most likely due to low adoption rates, lack of investment or poor positioning. Many of the API-first platforms are all doing the same thing which is a different ball game to the traditional CMS where the competition often lay in the rich feature sets and added extras (e.g. Digital Experience Management or Digital Marketing). The winners will be those with the robust roadmaps, strong positioning and cleanest implementations of features and APIs.

However, the traditional CMS can’t be overlooked. It’s easy to think that they will simply fall at the feet of this new generation but for many of these traditional CMS, they have been plotting their own route into this space. Some, such as Kentico and its Kentico Cloud product, have moved into space with a separate headless offering while others, such as Sitecore, Episerver and Drupal, are adapting their own platforms to move into this space. Arguably, the latter is headless solutions as the presentation layer is separated out allowing you to distribute to multiple channels but, since they are to a degree still the monolithic solutions of old (lots of features for all kinds of jobs), it is easier to think of these as simply hybrid.

It will be interesting to see how these solutions fare over the coming years – particularly as their current licence models aren’t necessarily geared towards modern architectures in the same way as API-first solutions.

 

CMS Selection

CMS selection is an interesting one. Reviewing Requests for Information and Requests for Proposal from the past three years, there have been plenty containing feature matrices of such magnitude that even Everest seems a trifle in comparison. For traditional CMSs, this is often fine. These CMSs are crammed full of features. However, when you move to API-first, that feature matrix becomes a little redundant. These systems aren’t crammed full of features since they serve a specific purpose – to curate and serve content.

As a result, we have started to see a change when it comes to those clients embarking on the CMS selection journey. Those matrices will occasionally pop up but, more often than not, these matrices are moving aside as businesses start to grasp the capabilities of headless CMS and the accompanying microservices-based architecture.

Feature matrices aside, another aspect to CMS selection is that of cost. Arguably, the initial investment in traditional CMS is lower as you are typically investing in one platform to rule them all. With the headless CMS approach, there is not only the subscription but also the cost of the infrastructure, service layer and additional systems required to deliver certain functionality. However, this is a short-term view. To truly consider cost, we need to take a long-term view and factor in upgrades, maintenance, patches. It is at this point that the headless CMS and its accompanying eco-system comes into its own offering a more competitive longer-term cost.

The headless approach is a shift in mindset and not necessarily an easy shift. Traditional content management is ingrained in the market and full education on headless takes time. But, over the coming years, I’d expect the figures in the Kentico report to creep up when it comes to both knowledge and adoption.

MMT’s recommendation is to think through your CMS selection criteria. Do you really need a long list of features? Based on experience, I would argue that this is probably not necessary. To allow for the inclusion of headless/API-first CMS, take a different approach and think about practical, everyday usage scenarios, e.g. common tasks, potential scenarios. And think through the long-term investment into the platform. You will need to factor in initial investment, infrastructure, upgrades, maintenance and ongoing fees.

 

Client-side adoption

Moving further downstream from CMS selection towards the practical application of headless, businesses are already moving in that direction – some faster than others. It’s important to note that this isn’t simply a lift and shift. Businesses often have lots of systems built on a particular infrastructure (or infrastructures) that may be tightly coupled. Shifting all of them requires careful planning.

The key ingredient here is the service layer. Elements need to be separated out and the service layer is used to power all manner of digital experiences and channels. It can be tricky to get right and we have seen good and bad implementations. It’s not cheap by any means but if implemented correctly, can give you big rewards further down the line – flexible architecture, access to the latest technology, improved performance and speed to market.

As a result, what we have started to see is an increase in experimentation. Businesses are using headless CMS to power microsites and campaign sites to enable them to understand the architecture they require and to start creating earlier versions of their service layers to aid them in forecasting expenditure and effort.

Whether you opt for a hybrid CMS or a headless CMS, this is arguably one of the most important elements to get right. Get this right and you provide a solid foundation for the future. Get it wrong and you could be inviting further rework. Be incremental in creating your service layer, adding to it piece by piece as you uncover the elements you need.

 

Developers

Developers, on the whole, love headless. And why wouldn’t they? The separation of concerns and the flexibility that headless offers give them free rein to embrace modern front-end frameworks and patterns to deliver more sophisticated and engaging experiences across a range of channels. They have full control over the presentation layer so, client budget permitting, the sky is really the limit.

It’s no surprise that this is reflected in the report and we’re seeing similar trends here in the market. Increasing numbers of developers are diving into the API-first world which in turn has a knock-on effect for recruitment and retention within businesses – both agency and client-side.

For agencies, this is a tricky one to manage as they need to ensure they have developers with the right skillsets. The signs are pointing to the headless and hybrid approaches as the future (for now at least) but coupled CMSs are not going away just yet. There’s a balancing act to maintain here while we strive towards that future.

Unfortunately, there’s no magic wand to wave here. This hinges on business decisions made on future architectures and development approaches plus, for agencies, new business and marketing activities. Start the conversation now – how could a microservices architecture benefit the business (or the client if you’re an agency), what impact does this have on current business operations and what effort/budget is required.

 

Editors

While developers welcome and embrace the move to headless, the same can’t be said for content editors.

The traditional CMS encouraged editors to think of content as content that would be pushed out onto a website and, as a result, all the text and media was architected in the form of pages. The move to hybrid and headless CMS steps away from that notion (in general as there are situations where you may use either of these approaches to deliver simply a website) towards thinking of content as essentially raw text blocks. The content you are creating is material that could be used on a website, an app, a smartwatch, through voice, through VR, etc.

Some editors are taking to this like a duck to water – especially those who already have experience of solutions such as GatherContent where content is treated as content with no ties to a particular channel. For others, it is a step into the unknown – much like it was in the early days of web content management.  

If you are moving to headless CMS, don’t underestimate the time needed to train and support editors during this transition. Headless CMS removes in-page editing (and in some cases the WYSIWYG editor) which can be a daunting scenario for editors. With carefully structured processes and frameworks which they can follow as a guide, the transition can be made as painless as possible.

 

Summary

The perception of headless on the whole has been very positive from all quarters and the benefits that an approach like this yields, when implemented properly, are clear to see – speed to market, ability to innovate with fewer constraints, flexible architecture, ability to engage with the latest technology, ability to reach different channels and access to a larger developer pool.

If you are considering a move to this approach, I would urge you to take heed of the areas I have highlighted. To get this right, the move should be careful and considered so you can make the most of the opportunity.

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Rick Madigan

Rick Madigan is a Digital Strategist at UX, design and build agency MMT Digital. Starting life as a Project Manager, Rick has worked within the digital sector for many years on a range of CMS-based and bespoke digital projects for national and international businesses. As a Digital Strategist, Rick works closely with clients across the business to develop and implement digital strategies that transform business performance. In recent years, Rick has taken a key role in supporting innovation strategies within clients, helping them to embrace new and upcoming technologies and trends, while also consulting on best practice for GDPR readiness and compliance.

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How to Leverage Reviews and Recommendations in Your Marketing

July 09, 2018

By Jeannine Richard, Director of Digital Services at Wakefly, a Kentico Gold Partner

Happy customers have the potential to be your brand’s biggest cheerleaders. Make sure that you are doing your part to let their voices be heard by leveraging reviews and recommendations as part of your marketing strategy.

The benefits of positive customer or product reviews are pretty obvious. They help you to build brand awareness and reputation. They can also heavily influence buying decisions for new customers who may be on the fence about a purchase. By giving them the ability to read reviews from other customers, it will build trust and give them peace of mind. Whenever possible, make the reviews feel more personal by using a photo of the reviewer (with their permission) or leveraging video testimonials.

We all feel better about making a decision when we know that others who made the same decision had a great experience. For example, whenever I find myself in an unfamiliar city and need to grab lunch, I go online and check out the reviews of local restaurants to determine where would be a good place to go. There are so many options to choose from so being able to learn from others’ experiences makes me feel confident I am going to make a good choice and have a delicious meal.

How Do Reviews Impact Your Search Rankings?

There are also SEO benefits to having reviews and recommendations on your website. Businesses that display Google Organic Star rankings next to them in search results are more likely to get clicks. There are a few different sources where those reviews will populate from but we’ll focus on the one you likely have the most control over—reviews on your website. In order to make sure that the reviews from your website are being included in search results, you need to make sure that you are using proper schema markup on your site.

This can be done manually using the schema markup guidelines provided on Schema.org. For review schema, you can find the correct markup to use here. AggregateRating schema is used for displaying the average rating based on multiple reviews. You can also get more granular and use Local Business schema or Product schema markup to denote the type of review. Including this type of structured data within your pages helps search engines more quickly and accurately understand the type of content on your site so that it’s displayed prominently in search engine results.

Depending on your website’s platform, you may also be able to leverage third-party plugins that insert this markup into your pages for you. WordPress gives you a lot of options like WP customer review and WP SEO Structured Data Schema. These options are great for non-techy types to get the correct structured data in place on their site without having to know how to write code.

One other handy tool to be aware of when it comes to structured data and schema is Google’s structured data testing tool. If you are not sure if you have the correct structure to your schema markup, you can copy and paste it into this tool, and it will verify it for you. It gives you a preview and provides any errors or warnings.

How Should You Handle Negative Reviews?

While we all want positive reviews and recommendations, it’s not always realistic that everyone is going to be a fan. There is even some value in seeing an occasional neutral or negative review because it means the reviews are authentic. Although you cannot stop someone from leaving a negative review, you can control how you respond to the interaction, and you might even have a chance to turn it around.

When someone takes the time to write a review for your business or product, it’s a good practice to acknowledge and reply to them – no matter the tone of the review. This is an important aspect of community building and community management. Replies should be unique, positive and brief.

If you receive a negative review and want to respond, don’t argue with the customer—no matter what. If possible, offer to reach out to them further to discuss the negative experience with them. By demonstrating how you address customer concerns and complaints in a positive manner, it shows other potential customers how much you value customer service.  Also, some review platforms will hold reviews for a week to give you the opportunity to turn the negative review into a positive review.

So…How Do I Get Reviews?

The simplest way to get reviews is to ask. Start with your key customers who you feel confident you have a great relationship and ask if they would be willing to write a recommendation for your business or a review of your product. This will help you get started, and likely you won’t have to worry about any surprises in terms of the type of review you receive. Then going forward, you should be incorporating asking for reviews and feedback into your daily customer service processes. You should always be encouraging customer feedback.

You may also want to try incentivizing customers to leave a review but giving them something in return. As long as you don’t tie the incentive into them leaving a positive review. For example, Wakefly offers free services for referring new clients.

Ultimately, you just need to keep a focus on it and remember to ask for reviews. Your happy customers will become an extension of your sales team and help you attract new business.

Jeannine Richard is the Director of Digital Services at Wakefly

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Businesses Embracing Headless CMS Technology at Faster than Expected Pace

June 22, 2018

Global survey by Kentico anticipates headless CMS adoption to double in the next 12 monhs

BEDFORD, N.H., June 21, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Kentico Software, a fast-growing  provider of Content Management Systems (CMS) with offices in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific, has just finished surveying nearly 1000 developers, marketers, and other CMS practitioners in 85 countries around the globe and collected some surprising results. While the concept of headless CMS has only been around for a few years, it has nevertheless gained a serious amount of momentum.

The survey, which specifically targeted business and technology users, found that 55% of those surveyed are aware of headless CMS; 29% of those who have this awareness  were already using headless CMS technology; and another 38% expected to be doing so within the next 12 months.

The primary reason respondents gave for making the move to headless CMS included centralizing content management in one place (48%), flexibility (47%), and building lightweight websites (44%). The complete survey results can be found at https://kenticocloud.com/state-of-headless-cms-2018.

Headless CMS Set to Disrupt the Market
“Headless CMS represents the biggest disruption to the CMS market in the past 15 years and it’s going to change the way people work with content,” said Petr Palas, Kentico’s Founder and CEO. “As companies need to deliver an omnichannel customer experience across a growing number of channels and devices, they encounter the limits of traditional web-oriented CMS systems and increasingly look for alternatives that will help them future-proof their content. Headless CMS is that alternative.”

Adoption Rate Expected to Double in the next 12 months
“Given what we are seeing in this study,” concluded Palas, “we expect the adoption of headless CMS to double in the next 12 months.”

He continued, “The adoption will continue to be driven primarily by technologists who want to use modern front-end frameworks and microservices architecture, avoiding the limitations of traditional CMS systems. At the same time, we see a growing number of organizations who look to consolidate their content into a single content hub and deliver it across multiple websites and mobile applications, as well as emerging channels such as chatbots, digital assistants, augmented or virtual reality, IoT devices, and others.”

About Kentico
Kentico Software was launched with one vision in mind—to build exceptional digital platforms that allow clients to connect with their customers, surpass their business goals, and achieve digital marketing and e-commerce success.

Kentico’s products include Kentico EMS, the all-in-one CMS, E-commerce, and Online Marketing platform, and Kentico Cloud, the comprehensive cloud-first headless CMS.

Kentico EMS allows you to manage content, contacts and campaigns, track customer journeys, provide global e-commerce functionality, and measure and analyze the results to create and manage customer experiences easily in a dynamic business environment.

Kentico Cloud allows you to manage structured content for omnichannel delivery and use Kentico Cloud’s API to display that content and provide a personalized digital experience on any website or device.

Kentico has 1,000 digital solution partners and powers 25,000 websites across 100 countries. Founded in 2004, Kentico is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner headquartered in the Czech Republic with offices in the US, UK, Netherlands, Australia and Singapore. Customers include Twinings, Ingram Micro, Mazda, Kingspan, Hyundai, Segway, and Allergan.

All product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

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Cloud Adoption, on-premise & data protection in the boardroom

June 22, 2018

By Bart Omlo

Over the last five years, cloud computing has matured to a point when it has become a trusted alternative to on-premise systems. Initially, the technology wasn’t developed enough and there were concerns about its stability and security. Today, a growing number of companies adopt a cloud-first strategy and look at cloud solutions as the preferred option. Even financial or government sectors that tend to be rather conservative are now adopting public cloud technologies.

An important point is how the boardroom’s view of cloud computing has changed. For many organizations, the transition to the cloud became part of their digital transformation. While the boardroom executives may not understand all the technical details, they see cloud as a way of increasing their agility which is so important in the new digital age. With cloud, they can simply outsource a big part of the technical complexity and focus on their day-to-day business.

What are the main reasons businesses adopt cloud services and applications today?

When it comes to the cloud, the biggest benefits have always been the cost savings and flexibility. Initially, a lot of companies were quite sceptical of having their content outside their walls but quickly found the scalability, and potentially tremendous reduction in expenses was well worth the move. These days, integrating systems and finding synergies between platforms is easier than ever, empowering even more organizations to adopt commoditized infrastructure. Because the capabilities of the platform are ever expanding, the barriers to entry are constantly being removed as more organizations realize the value of cloud-hosted solutions.

What are the ongoing challenges of cloud adoption?

Companies will always be protective of their data and with good reason. With new security breaches announced daily, it’s imperative that organizations define and adopt strict security guidelines for protecting the information they collect and how it is used. Because of geography and compliance limitations, many of these regulations often present a challenge to companies wishing to move to the cloud. Cloud vendors are constantly looking to remove these roadblocks, however, some government and private sector organizations continue to shy away from cloud-hosted technologies, citing security and accessibility concerns. Additionally, many businesses have previously made significant investments in on-premise infrastructure, prohibiting them from abandoning their current solution for a cloud-based model.

When it comes to security and data privacy, businesses should always pay attention. However, they shouldn’t presume the public cloud would be less secure by design. It’s always important to look at the given situation and ask yourself “What are the risks of putting my data into public cloud?” and “How do I make my data more secure by keeping them on-premise?” Data privacy is obviously a major topic due to the GDPR and it’s important to understand the implications of storing personal data in a cloud service. In particular, you need to know where the data is stored and how it’s managed. Some cloud service providers are ready to answer these vital questions, while others – especially those who do not operate in Europe – are still trying to figure out how to become compliant.

Will there be a time when business-critical information is migrated from on-premise to the public cloud?

Business-critical information is already being migrated to the public cloud. Just have a look at how many companies rely on public cloud services for their emails, documents, CRM, accounting or Content Management Systems for their website. For these systems, cloud will become a standard for most organizations – the rate of adoption is only a matter of time.

There will always be organizations with some very specific requirements and they may keep running certain systems on-premise or in a private cloud. But their number will shrink significantly over time.

What advantages to businesses that are ‘born in the cloud’ have over legacy businesses?

The challenge of legacy businesses is that they aren’t able to move all their systems to the cloud in one step. So they may need to combine on-premise and cloud services at the same time and ensure they’re integrated. As a result, their initial investment is higher and they will see the benefits over a longer period of time. The cloud-native businesses have the freedom to choose their own stack of cloud services that meet their needs best and start using them right away. Modern cloud services enable a much easier integration using standardized APIs (application programming interfaces) and often come with out-of-the-box connectors to other major cloud services.

Are we reaching a saturation point for the industry or is there still further to go in driving adoption and understanding?

Cloud computing will never fully replace on-premise solutions. There will continue to be a market for both, as organizations determine which solution is the best fit for their business. While there has been significant adoption of the cloud in the industry, many other organizations have not yet moved their systems, due to previous investments in on-premise infrastructure. Until those companies feel the pain of updating their hardware to the latest systems, there will continue to be a need for the promotion and advocacy of the cloud within the community. And due to the accelerated evolution and innovation of the platform, the need for education on cloud capabilities and usefulness is always present.

In the future, expect to see businesses continue adopting the cloud due to increasing competitive forces in the market. As the markets evolve ever more quickly, businesses clearly need to become much agiler – from the Boardroom down – and that’s where cloud can definitely help.

Bart Omlo is senior VP Sales EMEA and Latin America at Kentico Software. He has more than 15 years of experience in the web content management and online marketing industry. As former CEO of a Dutch web agency and member of the European JBoye CMS Expert Group, he has a broad vision on the changing world of internet technology and how businesses can benefit from it.

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